Having your food suffer from hotspots is a nuisance, but cooking doesn’t need to be like this. Convection ovens have long remained a favorite with seasoned chefs and bakers, giving them a consistent cook and temperature throughout their food. Luckily for you, these fantastic ovens are easily available to even the most modest of chefs. But where to begin when trying to find the best one?
Convection Ovens at a Glance
Convection ovens have a built-in fan that circulates the heat throughout, pushing it into all four corners. They’re also known as fan-assisted ovens for that reason. With a convection oven, you get a steady, even temperature with no hotspots. This makes cooking in one predictable, in the best sense of the word.
They’re controllable and consistent and help keep everything going according to plan. When you’re baking that sponge, you’re going to get the same results wherever in the oven you put it.
They’re also great if you’re cooking several things at once. Because the temperature is the same throughout the oven, there’s no need for juggling things around during cooking or making compromises. You can cook your roast and still have those perfectly crispy potatoes. The heat-circulating fan also make convection ovens very efficient in terms of both power and time.
Like all kitchen equipment, specifications vary and there are a few things you need to look out for when buying a convection oven. Cooking is fun. Cleaning up after cooking is less so. So it’s worth considering how easy the oven is to maintain.
Another key factor is what you can cook in your oven. Whilst we all use the oven simply to heat things up sometimes, you’re going to want to do more than that in the longer term. Check what types of cooking (broiling, roasting etc.) the oven can offer. Control is also important, as you need to be able to set the oven at the exact temperature you need. A built-in timer might be useful, so you can leave dishes cooking without having to be on hand to watch them.
Finally, size is also something to consider. What might surprise you is just how small convection ovens can be. They’re available in a range of dimensions, from full size to countertop ovens that are not much bigger than your average microwave. Like these five…
This is another standalone, and comes with a stylish stainless steel finish. It gives you all the performance of a full-size oven but on your kitchen counter. It has nine pre-programmed settings so you can set it to precisely the temperature you need. The Asodo Roast function automatically adjusts the heat during cooking to ensure that your roast comes out perfectly. You can broil, bake and heat up in it. Roomy inside, it can accommodate two 12” pizzas and smaller whole birds for roasting. With a non-stick coating on the oven cavity, it’s easy to keep clean. It has a 120-minute timer, and comes with a 12″ non-stick multipurpose pan, a 12″ broiling rack, a cooling rack and a non-stick drip tray.
Breville BOV800XL Smart Oven
Like the Breville BOV845BSS, comes with Element IQ that automatically adjusts temperature during cooking. Its backlit LCD is colour-coded, changing from blue to orange during cooking. It has nine pre-set functions, including settings for bagels and cookies as well as warming, roasting and broiling. Its non-stick interior makes it simple to wipe up any mess. It’s also got a drip/crumb tray that’s removable via the front of the oven for ease. You can toast six slices of bread at once in the Breville BOV800XL and you can cook a pizza or roast a chicken in it. It’s a slightly smaller oven than some others, meaning that as well as saving on space, it also saves you time by heating up more quickly.
Breville BOV845BSS Smart Oven Pro
This Breville model comes with Element IQ that makes it, as the name suggests, a very clever oven. It adjusts and controls the heat according to whatever you’re cooking and has ten pre-set functions, with light and slow cook settings. The slow cook function is particularly useful if you’re out and about and want your meal ready for you when you get home. You can set it to warm through for a few hours or cook on a low setting for up to ten hours. You can also set it to defrost. The Breville BOV845BSS comes with an enamel baking pan and broiling rack. You also get a 13″ non-stick pizza pan. All in all, this is a very versatile oven.
Cuisinart TOB-135 Deluxe
This oven has nine built-in functions and can handle a whole range of dishes. Whether you’re rustling up a show stopping cake or a roast dinner or just baking potatoes, the Cuisinart can cope with them all. It’s a very spacious oven. You can toast six slices of bread, cook a 12” pizza or roast a whole chicken. The oven’s Exact Heat sensor ensures that you’re maintaining a precise temperature to get the results you want. It’s also got the Always Even shade control setting for your toast, so the demanding amongst you can get the exact shade you prefer. The large digital display makes the Cuisinart easy to control. It’s also got a one-minute back-up, so a power surge or cut doesn’t have to ruin your dinner.
The Black & Decker CTO6335S
This is a standalone oven, meaning that there’s no need for installation. Just put it down on a suitable surface, plug it in and you’re ready to go. Sleek and compact, it’s still big enough to cook a casserole or a 12” pizza. With an extra-large digital display and one touch controls, it’s easy to use. You can bake, broil, re-heat or warm though – all the capabilities you’d expect of an oven, but at a fraction of the size. You can even toast in it. A detachable crumb tray makes it simple to clean. It also has a 120-minute timer with a bell and auto-shut off and comes with a baking pan.